James C. McShea, 85, of Conyngham, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, following a seven-week illness.
Born in McAdoo, August 25, 1935, he was the son of the late John and Margaret (McNelis) McShea and spent the past 43 years in Conyngham, after moving from McAdoo.
James was a 1953 graduate of McAdoo High School, where he played football. He continued playing football at Bloomsburg State Teachers College (now Bloomsburg University) before leaving school for a four year stint working at the US Steel plant in Fairless Hills, Pa., wrapped around two years of military service in the late 1950’s.
In the early ‘60s Jim decided to return to Bloomsburg, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in secondary education in 1963. His first teaching assignment was at Delhaas High School, Bristol Township, Pa., near Levittown, which is where he met his future wife and also made some lasting friendships.
In the turbulent years of the late 1960s, Jim decided to return to the tranquility of Northeast Pa., and returned to McAdoo to settle down and start a family. He substituted at Rock Glen Jr. High and Hazleton HS for a year each before his final stop of 22 years at DA Harman Jr. High School, Hazleton, teaching Civics and American Gov’t. He took pleasure in educating young minds about the importance of civic responsibility and participating in a democratic form of government.
On May 23, 1970 Jim married the love of his life, Erma, and they would go on to have four children. Although he was well regarded in the classroom, his happiest moments were at home with his family. In the summertime he loved to raise tomatoes and other vegetables in his garden, do chores around the house and yard, and take his family on picnics and swimming down at present day Eagle Rock Resort, although back then we always called it “Big Valley.” As much as he enjoyed summertime, he found “Back to School” advertisements very nettlesome.
As mentioned earlier, Jim was a veteran and served in the United States Army from 1957 to 1959. Keenly aware he could be drafted during the height of the Cold War he instead proudly volunteered. After basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., he attended Army Intelligence School in Dundalk, Md., and eventually was transferred to Camp Pendleton at the Giessen Army Depot in Germany. Being stationed overseas allowed him the opportunity to travel all around Europe and see the world in a way he never would have if he had not volunteered to serve his country.
Jim was a member of the Catholic faith and took his family to church (most) every Sunday, except on the occasions they “said a prayer from home.”
Jim was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting and fishing. Although not a trained or experienced cook, through trial and error he became the master of making bean soup. Almost any special occasion or graduation party would have to include his “famous” bean soup. He was also very proud of his Irish heritage and large extended family. Always the life of the party there was nothing he enjoyed more than a family reunion, wedding, or any special occasion to get together with family and friends and shoot the breeze and have some cold ones. He was also very proud of his children and all of their accomplishments, and made no secret of it to anyone he spoke with.
He was preceded in death, in addition to his parents, by a brother John P. McShea; and three sisters: Theresa Tomczak, Sr. Theresa Cecelia, IHM, and Cecelia Ravina.
Left to cherish his memory and honor his legacy are his wife of the past 51 years, the former Erma Kneller; four children Shawn McShea and his wife Anitra, Mountain Top; Shannon McShea, Danville; Scott McShea, Conyngham; and Katie Douglass and her husband Woody, Seven Fields; five grandchildren Miles, Audrey, and Brynley McShea, Ada and Mabel Douglass; and many nieces and nephews.
His funeral will be held Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at 11 am from Harman Funeral Homes & Crematory Inc. (East), 669 W. Butler Drive, Drums. Interment will take place privately at the convenience of the family. Friends may call at the funeral home Tuesday morning from 10 am until the time of the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice, or to Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia. He was especially grateful for the care he received there from Dr. Rosalia Viterbo.
Although the last several weeks were very difficult for his family, Jim is probably one of the toughest people you would ever meet and was a true fighter and brave all the way to the end. He would not want us to mourn, but rather celebrate his wonderful long life and the impression he made upon us and all the people that he impacted during his almost 86 years. He was a very honorable and dignified man with extreme pride for his family and country. He always believed in paying bills on time and doing the right thing and treating people with class and respect; the world could use more of that these days. Above all he was the epitome of a family man and loved his parents, siblings, wife, nieces and nephews, children, and most recently his dearest grandchildren (who he adored).
Online condolences can be entered and more information is available at www.harmanfuneral.com.
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